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Risk for type 2 diabetes after gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is one of the most common comorbidities during pregnancy. Although the disease disappears after delivery, women with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the following years. Therefore, these women are advised to have their blood glucose levels checked by a doctor 6-12 weeks after delivery and at one- to three-year intervals thereafter. 

There are many different risk factors associated with developing type 2 diabetes after gestational diabetes. Scientists from the Institute of Diabetes Research (IDF) at Helmholtz Munich have developed a risk score that summarizes 4 key risk factors in only one digit. This number helps to estimate the personal risk of developing gestational diabetes in the next few years.

The score relies on data from 257 cases of gestational diabetes recorded between 1989 to 1999 and followed up for 20 years after delivery.

Analysis of the observed gestational diabetes cases revealed 4 risk categories (low, medium, high, extremely high) into which cases of gestational diabetes immediately after delivery can be classified. Based on this, predictions of how the risk of developing type 2 diabetes will develop over time can be made for different values of the score.

Detailed information on the risk score can be found in the original publication:
Köhler M, Ziegler AG, Beyerlein A. Development of a simple tool to predict the risk of postpartum diabetes in women with gestational diabetes mellitus. Acta Diabetol. 2015; DOI 10.1007/s00592-015-0814-0

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Further information in different languages about gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes and lifestyle adjustments can be found on the national diabetes information portal diabinfo.de - published by Helmholtz Munich, among others.